Newly released studio recordings of Bob Dylan’s song “Like a Rolling Stone” shows how the first recording attempts floundered with a sound everyone knew was wrong. An overnight decision to change the rhythm from a waltz to a 4/4 shifted everything, and a classic was recorded.
The NPR Broadcast The Day Dylan Got It Right (html) recants this story as shown in the release of new recordings of Dylan’s studio sessions as a 6 CD set The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series Volume 12 (html).
Now, with all of these previously unreleased tracks, we get to join Dylan and the studio musicians from his first fumbling attempts to nail the track. They worked on “Like a Rolling Stone” over two days in June of 1965 at Columbia Records’ Studio A in a New York City.
They first attempted the song as a waltz. How does it feel? Well, it feels wrong: Dylan’s voice breaks, and he’s unsure of the words. Al Kooper was one of the musicians at that session — and when I invited him to come by NPR to listen through the alternate takes, he heard this one and immediately started shaking his head.
“The concept of a waltz — it’s a ONE-two-three, ONE-two-three, that I don’t think suits the lyric he was trying to express,” Kooper says.
After struggling to make the words fit a time signature that won’t yield, the crew calls it a day. Overnight, a decision is made: Play it in 4/4.
The stepping back from the problem, and changing a foundational aspect, might be seen as well as a process of creativity. Also evident in this story is that, while Dylan certainly drove the creative process among studio musicians, he did not get it right – the numerous repeated recordings were never as good as the first complete one. And it was the smaller contributions, such as the organ chords contributed by Kooper (who was not even considered a keyboardist) were pivotal to the success of this song.
Source: The Day Dylan Got It Right (NPR) (html)
Patterns of appreciation by Wikipedia members offer an opportunity to understand the dynamics of two different forms of social media gratitude- the quick click WikiThanks for individual edits vs a direct expression of WikiLove to an individual.
PhD student at the MIT Media Lab Center for Civic Media, Nate Matias (html) describes an research effort (html) to study motivations and impact of two different forms of gratitude that occur within the community of WikiPedia members.
WikiLove is a message of appreciation sent between any two people with a Wikipedia account. To send WikiLove, navigate to someone’s User page, click the heart button, select the type of WikiLove you want to send, add a message, and send the note. The receiver will receive a notification via email and the Wikipedia notification system.
Generating a WikiThanks means that a sender has gone to a user’s home page in WikiPedia, and compose a short message, similar to writing a comment on a blog. It is an individualized expression of gratitude; while not difficult, it does take more effort than WikiThanks.
WikiThanks are more closely associated with individual edits that individual users. To send a thanks, view the edit history of an article, find an edit you especially like, and click the “thanks button.” The receiver will be notified of your appreciation.
Thus a WikiThanks is closer to a Like/Favorite in other social media platforms; the act is quickly done through a mere click, but is also associated with a specific action a person has done rather than associated with the person.
At a CrowdCamp Hackathon event, Matias and colleague Emily Harburg (link) teamed up over their mutual interest in studying similar aspects of gratitude and appreciation in social media.
They experimented with the WikiPedia API and were able to accumulate a data set of almost 10,000 expressions of WikiLove and WikiThanks, and presented a preliminary discussion of a possible further research effort (Presentation).
The Wikipedia dataset is one of the largest measurable collections of gratitude in a community anywhere, and by studying it, we might be able to learn more about how thanks functions in creative communities, especially in relation to our sense of self-efficacy, reputation, and social worth.
Preliminary network graphs from their hackathon effort indicate differing dynamics between WikiThanks and WikiLove.
Matt Novak, in The Late Great American Promise of Less Work provides useful links on American labor as it relates to technological promises of the 2oth century. In this short excerpt, Walter Cronkite gives a tour of the home office of the future which would be the domain of men telecommuting.
Cronkite informs viewers:
Technology is opening a new world of leisure time. One government report projects that by the year 2000, the United States will have a 30-hour work week and month-long vacations as the rule.
In his book How Music Works (link) David Byrne suggests our attention to media, in his case, music, may differ when we know it is not recorded, that it is ephemeral.
As Walter Murch, the sound editor and film director said, “Music was the main poetic metaphor for that which could not be preserved.” Some say that this evanescence helps focus our attention. They claim that we listen more closely when we know we only have once chance, one fleeting opportunity to grasp something, and as a result our enjoyment is deepened.
Murch’s statement is from an interview (link) was discussing the way music was understood in ancient times, before there was notation, or an alphabet, or recording technology, to preserve it. He added after the quote Byrne uses:
Music evaporates as soon as it is performed.
This element of ephemerality where there is no possibility of being recorded, is different than the kinds of digital ephemera media (book) that exist only temporarily, e.g. Snapchat and media that may expire.
Some suggest these new forms offer avenues for creativity (link). However, the relationship of attention to the media ought to be different if it is known there is but one chance to listen.
It’s that concept that Byrne poses is why the live performance is essential to be considered as its own form, not a reiteration of what is recorded.
How Music Works by David Byrne (book)
The Heliocentric Pantheon: An Interview With Walter Murch (link)
The history of trade routes including rail lines and highways begins with the history of short-cuts in river trade. Portage is the practice of carrying boats across land as a safer, quicker way of cutting the corner made by a river bend. Over time, tracks made by portage practices themselves become known as portages. Portage is a verb-to-noun form.On their return journey, the explorers met Indians who described a shorter route to Lake Michigan. The explorers taking the route, traveled up the Illinois River to the Des Plaines River. Canoeing up the Des Plaines they came to a place approximately midway between present day Summit and Riverside, Illinois. Here, at what is now known as the Chicago Portage, in September of 1673, they came to a little creek (Portage Creek the outlet of Mud Lake) which took them into and across Mud Lake to its eastern edge (the continental divide). At this point they carried – or portaged – their canoes across one and one half miles of open prairie to the west fork of the south branch of the Chicago River. The Chicago River led Marquette and Jolliet to Lake Michigan and back to Green Bay.In the history of the idea of portage we find a precedent for the desire line made by walking feet finding social shortcuts across planned landscapes.See the Tactic of the Shortcut